A maximum field of 20 has been declared for the latest running of the two-mile, five-furlong Lanzarote Hurdle with the winner walking off with a cool £57,000.
The race is as competitive as ever too. Despite the flat nature of the Kempton Park track, this will take some getting owing not just to the trip but also the forecast soft ground.
We’ve taken these six horses against the field, the ultimate selection giving the appearance of a well-handicapped type and connections are full of confidence.
Remaining at a backable each-way price all week, Ben Case’s runner is an emerging hurdler who may well appreciate this step up in trip from 2m3½f.
An easy winner last time out at Doncaster, Cobblers Dream is happy on softer ground by all accounts but in fairness won’t have had a challenge quite like this one before.
He’s certainly going the right way though, may be ahead of the handicapper and being by Yeats is surely a fair bet to see out this extra distance well enough.
Earth Lord is an obvious type. Trained by Philip Hobbs, on a hat-trick, experienced enough, on the upgrade and proven over the trip, he certainly ticks plenty of boxes at a glance.
While he stays well enough, he hasn’t yet done so on this soft a surface. He didn’t excel when tried on genuine soft ground at Wincanton in December 2020, though in fairness that was his hurdling debut.
Assuming the ground doesn’t completely scupper his chance, he would appear to have a reasonable each-way shout but may not represent the best value overall.
A bigger price when the selection was made but now being backed fairly heavily, Green Brook appears to hold an outstanding chance in this event.
Venetia Williams trains this Authorized offspring who was a four-time winner on the Flat and who has done precious little wrong so far over timber.
Runner-up in his first two outings including on heavy going, Green Brook then comfortably took care of eight rivals at Haydock in December and looked like a hurdler going places.
That was on soft ground over two miles, but we believe he can only get better over this extended trip and in fact this race was always on the cards for him.
He’s just 8lbs higher in the handicap now following his Haydock success, and in fact he was turned out quickly in December at Ludlow where he won again in simple fashion over today’s trip.
The style of his wins and the form of them makes him look like a very well handicapped horse. He is proven on the ground and over the trip, albeit separately, and he is now reunited with Ned Fox who won on him two outings ago and claims a massive 10lbs.
There are a number of tips flying around for Marie’s Rock but win, lose or draw she looks overbet and underpriced. That may well be because she represents the owner/trainer/jockey combo of Middleham Park, Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville and it’s something punters should keep in mind.
That said, she has some good form and in fact won easily last time out over this very course and distance so is at least tried and tested in the conditions.
On My Command
Another horse on a hat-trick is Harry Fry’s On My Command. A nice price in the market all week, Jonathan Burke’s mount won by four lengths at Market Rasen in October and then by 12 at Plumpton in December, though the form of those races doesn’t come close to matching the quality he faces here.
The major worry is about the ground. He’s never been at his best on soft ground and has done his recent winning on a good surface.
Quinta Do Mar
Although Quinta Do Mar missed the chance of landing of landing his own three-timer when he was beaten into fourth at Cheltenham last month, he remains a horse of some potential.
Things may have happened a little quickly for him that day, but that said he is another apparent good ground horse which may just hold him back here.
It’s hard to discount the chances of Marie’s Rock, but the mare faces stiff competition here and is not the best price. On My Command should get plenty of respect, but the one we like best of all is GREEN BROOK.
Since those wins at Haydock and Ludlow last month he has been given more than three weeks to recover and should be in top shape now. A new career high, which is likely, probably means that he significantly outruns his handicap mark of 130.